“The New York Times” reported Friday that over 600 women were raped along the Congo-Angola border in September and October during an expulsion of approximately 6,000 illegal immigrants from Angola.
Many women reported being locked in dungeon-like conditions for several weeks while they were gang-raped repeatedly by security forces. When they were released, they were forced to walk across the border into Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) wtihout any clothes on. At least one woman died from her internal injuries, the “Times” reported.
The Associated Press initially reported the number to be 30 victims in this latest string of attacks, not 600.
“What worries us is that rape seems to be becoming endemic in several parts of Congo,” Maurizio Giuliano, an UN spokesman in Democratic Republic of Congo, said, referring to recent rapes in the eastern Kivu provinces. “We fear it’s becoming part of the routine.”
Though the United Nations does not know on which side of the border the women were attacked, it is calling on both countries to “investigate properly.”
Expulsions from Angola are not uncommon. Last year, the country expelled 160,000 Congolese while DRC officials expelled 51,000 Angolans, according to to UN officials.